News and STORIES
Stellar Tap Wires the Field to Give Asmussen the All-Time Win Record
All-Time Training Record
Whitney Day at Saratoga is always special as the race is one of the most highly anticipated of the meet. However, the show was stolen earlier in the day by trainer Steve Asmussen. Asmussen entered the day at 9,445 wins which tied him with Dale Baird for most all-time.
In the fifth race he had two of his five entries for the day in Stellar Tap and Vodka Mardini. Vodka Madini went off as the 2nd choice at 9/2 while Stellar Tap was just a touch higher at 5-1.Stellar Tap broke well and pressured the front runner in the early stages.
By the race’s second call Stellar Tap had pulled in front and never looked back. He finished first by 5 ¼ lengths. The runner would be Asmussen’s only winner on the day though he would rack up another Saratoga victory on Sunday as well as two at Ellis Park.
As of Monday morning Asmussen has 9,449 victories.
Weekend Stakes Recap
The Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes was run on Friday. Elm Drive, a 2 year old filly for Little Red Feather Racing ran the 6 furlongs in 1:10.64 to earn the victory. The filly, who will likely be on the Kentucky Oaks trail earned an 85 Beyer Speed Figure.
Saturday at Del Mar featured two graded stakes races. Both were Grade 2 events. The ninth race was the Best Pal Stakes. In the race Pappacap rallied from 3 out of it to win rather easily. Pappacap was last seen at Gulfstream Park in Florida and earned a 70 for the win.
The second graded stakes was the Yellow Ribbon and completed the stakes double as the 10th race. Princess Grace was among 4 horses between three and four to one on the tote board and delivered from just off the pace to win the turf route with a 102 Beyer Speed Figure. Journeyman jockey Kent Desormeaux got the win.
The Grade 3 La Jolla at a 1 1/16th miles on turf was maybe the most talked about stakes race of the weekend. Coming into the lane #6 Sword Zorro, #5 Zoffarelli, and race favorite #3 Hudson Ridge were side by side. Sword Zorro crossed the line first, but was disqualified to third. Zoffarelli originally finished second but was given the win because of the drifting of the #6.
Social media, as it often is, was split following the decision. Some felt that #5 caused his own trouble by attempting to bull out through a hole that wasn’t open. Others felt that both the #5 and #6 should have been disqualified, leaving the #3, who finished third in real time as the winner.
The race replay as well as the inquiry review footage can be found on Del Mar’s Youtube Channel.
The Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame was run over the Saratoga turf on Friday. Earning an 88 Beyer Speed Figure, Public Sector crossed the wire first. It was yet another graded stakes win for the connections of Chad Brown and Klaravich Stables.
The Grade 3 Troy is a turf sprint run at 5 ½ furlongs. The race saw a win for a horse who was coming out of turf marathons. Fast Boat ran a time of 1:01.24 earning a 104 Beyer Speed Figure in the race.
Saturday saw four graded stakes run at Saratoga. The Grade 2 Glens Falls Stakes saw a heavy favorite in War Like Goddess. She did not disappoint, winning the race with a 99 Beyer Speed Figure over the Saratoga turf.
In the Grade 1 Saratoga Derby Invitational, there was a heavy favorite in Bolshoi Ballet for Aiden O’Brien. However, it would be Aiden’s son, Joseph, who would win the race with an American debut runner. State of Rest came flying home late after being a bad actor pre race to capture the victory earning a 96 Beyer Speed Figure.
The Grade 1 Longines Test was a renewal of the Kentucky Oaks division from earlier this year. Search Results went in as the favorite, but was soundly defeated by Bella Sofia, paying over $10 to win. Bella Sofia earned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure for the winning effort.
The marquee race of the day was the Grade 1 Whitney. The race saw Knicks Go who was extremely disappointing in his last race, do what he does best. When the gates opened the horse popped to a big lead and continued to run fast all the way around. It was proof that for some horses it isn’t how fast you’re going, but how you’re going fast.
The early lead proved to be too much for his rivals who had no punch when they needed to close ground. Knicks Go earned an impressive 111 Beyer Speed Figure in the race.
Sunday featured 2 additional graded stakes races. The Saratoga Oaks Invitational is listed as Grade 3. The always dangerous Con Lima was able to get the victory in the race earning a 92 Beyer Speed Figure.
The Grade 2 Adirondack was for 2 year old females and yet another chance for players to see the future Kentucky Oaks runners. The race was won by Wicked Halo for Steve Asmussen. She earned a 72 Beyer Speed Figure.
While many are familiar with some of the more storied tracks around the country like Belmont, Saratoga, Del Mar, and Churchill Downs, there are a number of tracks running across the country on a daily basis. Although these tracks may not have the consistent quality of equine athlete that is seen at the larger tracks, they provide horse players with opportunities to play almost every day of the year.
One of those tracks is Mountaineer in West Virginia. Every so often these lower tier tracks put together a race or card that attracts the top names from around the country. On Saturday, “The Mountain” hosted the Grade 3 West Virginia Derby.
In the race Mr. Wireless ran on to victory. The win was his 2nd Grade 3 in a row after winning the Indiana Derby back in July.
Top Beyer Speed Figures from the Weekend
2 Year Olds
2YO Elm Drive: 85 Beyer Speed Figure; 6 furlongs at Del Mar
2YO Eda: 84 Beyer Speed Figure; 6 furlongs at Del Mar
2YO Freelancer: 80 Beyer Speed Figure; 6 furlongs at Ellis Park
2YO Stellar Tap: 78 Beyer Speed Figure; 7 furlongs at Saratoga
Knicks Go: 111 Beyer Speed Figure; 9 furlongs at Saratoga
Maxfield: 105 Beyer Speed Figure; 9 furlongs at Saratoga
Art Collector: 102 Beyer Speed Figure; 9 furlongs at Saratoga
Silver State: 102 Beyer Speed Figure; 9 furlongs at Saratoga
Bella Sofia: 101 Beyer Speed Figure; 7 furlongs at Saratoga
Jalen Journey: 101 Beyer Speed Figure; 6.5 furlongs at Saratoga
Fast Boat: 103 Beyer Speed Figure; 5.5 furlongs Turf at Saratoga
Flavius: 102 Beyer Speed Figure; 8.5 furlongs Turf at Saratoga
Caratori: 101 Beyer Speed Figure; 5.5 furlongs Turf at Saratoga